On what grounds can you file for divorce in the UK?
The breakdown of a relationship is never an ideal situation, but sadly it does happen. If it happens to you, and you want to end your marriage, you may want to know on what grounds you are able to file for divorce.
Knowing where you stand is important, at what can be a very emotional time of your life. Of course you can seek help from experts in family law. But if you need some background information, before you do so, here are the five reasons you can give, as grounds for a divorce petition.
Your husband or wife has committed adultery
If you are married, and your husband or wife has sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex, then you can petition for divorce on the grounds of adultery. It’s important to note that you cannot use this as grounds if you live with your husband or wife for six months or more, after discovering adultery. You probably realize that adultery only applies when the relationship with another party is sexual. What you may not know is that adultery only applies if the sexual relationship is with a member of the opposite sex, not if it is with a member of the same sex.
Your husband or wife is guilty of unreasonable behaviour
As with adultery, this is a grounds for divorce that can result in a “quick” divorce. There can be many definitions of what unreasonable behaviour actually is, but some often cited examples are:
- Physically abusive behaviour.
- Mentally abusive behaviour.
- Sexual relations with a member of the same sex.
- Substance abuse.
- Refusal of housekeeping expenses.
Unreasonable behaviour is basically a type of behaviour, displayed by your husband or wife, which makes it impossible for you to continue living with them.
You have been deserted by your husband or wife
This ground for divorce applies if you have been deserted by your husband or wife for two years or more of the last two and a half years. The desertion has to have been against your will, and without any good reason. It also must have been done with the intention of ending your relationship. As you can see this is not an immediate grounds for divorce, as with adultery or unreasonable behaviour, due to the length of time the desertion has to have occurred over.
You have been living apart from your husband or wife for more than two years
Again, this is not a quick route to getting a divorce, due to the timescales involved. It’s important to note that you can only apply for a divorce on these grounds if you and your husband or wife are in full agreement. Both parties have to agree to the divorce in writing.
You have been living apart from your husband or wife for more than five years
If you are living apart from your husband and wife, and they do not agree to a divorce, you will need to wait five years before you can file for divorce. Separation for this length of time is normally considered grounds for a divorce.
You can see that, depending on the reason you are seeking a divorce, you may have to wait a significant period of time, before you have grounds to file, according to UK divorce law.